Knights learn from earlier loss
La Salle captures local senior boys rugby title; Napanee boots way to girls championship
The La Salle Black Knights are gearing up for Tuesday’s Eastern Ontario high school senior boys rugby championship after capturing their second straight Kingston Area title on Thursday.
The Knights, building up a 12-0 first-half lead, went on to defeat the Regiopolis-Notre Dame Panthers 19-10 in the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association title match at Nixon Field.
The girls rugby crown was decided on penalty kicks in overtime with the Napanee Golden Hawks prevailing, 18-15 over La Salle, also at Nixon Field.
La Salle senior boys coach Reuben Brunet felt it was a lesson learned from the Knights’ regular-season meeting against the Panthers — a game won 19-12 by Regiopolis — that benefited his players.
“You learn a lot from a loss. I think we did a lot of reflecting after Regi beat us. It was probably the best thing for us,” Brunet said.
“In the regular season, Regi beat us in the physical game, I thought. In this game, I’m not going to say the tables were totally reversed, but I thought it was very even.”
Outside centre Burke Derbyshire scored two tries and hooker Jack Cote added the other for the Knights. Ethan Boskamp converted twice.
Derbyshire’s first try was on a run of about 40 metres.
“We got off to a very good start. We controlled the play the first five to 10 minutes,” Brunet said. “We knew coming in that Regi was really good at stealing the ball in contact. So we worked very hard at getting [support] to our guy carrying the ball and having good rucks.”
Derbyshire added a second try after a great kick by Mitch Dowd put the ball deep in Regi territory. Off a scrum, Derbyshire took the pass and put the ball down in the corner.
Brunet said fly half Dowd played his best game in his five years wearing the black and gold.
“Mitch called a great game of offence. He saw the field well and kicked the ball well from our fly half spot all game. It was awesome,” Brunet said.
Regi did score first in the second half to cut La Salle’s lead to 12-5, but the Knights responded with the Cote try, converted by Boskamp.
“Collectively, the coaching staff knew we needed to respond and we did,” Brunet said. “The one thing I take away is how hard our kids played. Oh geez they played hard.”
The Knights will now head to Smiths Falls for a Thursday game against the Red Hawks in the single-game Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association championship. The winner will move on to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship, June 1-3 in Ottawa.
In the girls KASSAA championship, the Golden Hawks and Knights, after tying 5-5 in their regular-season meeting and finishing tied for first with 4-0-1 records, were tied again Thursday after regulation play at 10-10.
La Salle took a 15-10 lead in the first overtime period, but Napanee came back late in the second period to force the game to penalty kicks. After several rounds of kicking, the Golden Hawks got the winning kick to move them on to EOSSAA on Tuesday in Ottawa.
“What a heartbreaker,” La Salle coach Brunet said. “Probably one of the most enjoyable, fun rugby games I’ve every participated in.
“The Napanee kids are classy. It is what you want [high school] athletics to be all about.”
Brunet said his players “played their hearts out.”
“Our girls knew they had done everything they could. It’s a tough way to lose, but my hat goes off to the Napanee girls,” Brunet said.
While the Golden Hawks won the KASSAA title and move on to AAA rugby play at Carleton University Tuesday, La Salle will go on to Pembroke in AA play. The Knights will be the No. 1 seed in a four-team championship to decide the OFSAA entry for June 1-3 in Oshawa.
The boys junior rugby semifinals are Tuesday. The first-place Frontenac Falcons host Regiopolis in one game, while the Holy Cross Crusaders are at home to La Salle in the other game. The KASSAA final is Friday . ... The Kingston Blues, after winning the KASSAA senior boys title on Thursday, will host the EOSSAA championship on Wednesday at Richardson Stadium. The provincial AA final is in North Bay, June 1-3.
La Salle Black Knights’ Dakota Sharpe tries to get out of the grasp of a Napanee Golden Hawks player during the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association girls rugby championship at Nixon Field on Thursday. Napanee won the game, 18-15, in penalty kicks after the teams were tied through overtime.